Display Vintage Books
I have a few vintage book collections that beg for attention, especially this 1915 Funk and Wagnalls Mental Health Efficiency self-help series. I found them in my parent’s garage many years ago and for that one moment, I was happy about their pack rat tendencies. How can you resist a book that tells you how to overcome timidity and build personality? Yes, please.
Dress Up a Book Collection
The books looked a little drab on the bright yellow shelf, so I took a friend’s advice and wrapped them with colorful paper bands. Simply cut 3″-wide strips of wrapping paper and fold them around the book cover. No need to use glue or tape, which I wanted to avoid on vintage books.
Wrap your books in the same color band, or use a mix of patterns and colors that evoke a certain era or mood. I like the vintage feel of the paper colors and patterns that adorn the books now.
For added personality, a squirrel nutcracker stands in as the bookend. I picked it up at one of my favorite New York City stores called Mxyplyzyk. A fake silver keeps the squirrel’s mouth and tail in the correct alignment. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I have a thing for squirrels!
Have fun and remember it’s the little details that don’t cost a lot of money that make your house feel like a home and reflect your true personality—refer to Funk and Wagnalls Volume lV page 106!
Look, There’s More
For more chic and creative ways to dress up a bookshelf, click here.
Add Texture with Burlap
Burlap may be a humble fabric, but there are so many ways to kick it up to couture. Adding textures like burlap creates a feeling of depth in a shoebox of a space. Use it to cover ottomans or even as curtains.
A DIY burlap curtain trimmed with black grosgrain ribbon striping became the perfect room divider for my friend’s studio.
Vintage French Grain Sacks
Check out your local flea markets and auction sites like eBay for vintage French grain sacks in burlap. They range from $40-90 depending on how old they are. Some of the burlap sacks have a duplicate design on the reverse side so you get two for one.
I decided to use two different French burlap sacks to cover inexpensive ottoman stools and finished them off with green grosgrain ribbon and antique brass upholstery tacks. Absolutely no sewing was involved and they look terrific.
Make sure and pre-wash your burlap before you cut, tuck or sew because there will be some shrinkage.
Look, There’s More
For more creative ways to add depth and texture to a petite space, click here.
I always like to share the little things that catch my fancy during the week and when my gray ticking-striped quilt arrived …I just had to share.
I was getting ready to do a load of laundry (always wash new linens and bedding before using to remove chemical residue from the dyeing process) and admired how the Draper Stripe pillow shams and sheets from Dwell Studio look with the ticking-striped cotton coverlet from West Elm.
Perhaps my penchant for stripes is bordering on some kind of design OCD, but the contrast of my striped bedding with my broad-striped, silk shantung covered screen makes me happy. It might seem counter-intuitive to design with a “more is more” attitude in such a small space, but you go with your gut. Stop me if I buy another striped rug!!
I’m a serial small-space nester and with each painful move, I’ve come to rely on a few things. Whenever possible go to your new location a few days before and have measurements of your big furniture pieces (and TV’s and computers) on hand as well as a roll of painter’s tape.
This is really helpful when you are downsizing to a smaller space like I recently did and are trying to figure out which pieces might have to be put into storage or given away.
I used blue painter’s tape because it was easy to see taped-off furniture zones on the wooden parquet floor. Was the TV armoire and computer close enough to electrical outlets or too close to windows or heaters? It will bring you comfort to know these answers before the movers come.
Once moving day arrived, the movers knew exactly where to place the large anchor pieces without too much guidance from frazzled me.
Hope this helps with your next move! Breathe!
It’s time to celebrate! The very last shot of the Living in a Nutshell book was snapped on March 23, 2011 at approximately 4:34pm! No champagne was popped since our photographer is happily expecting a little one, but we all cheered for joy!
I wanted to give you a sneak peek at a little idea that made a big difference on a second-hand dresser I bought for my niece’s bedroom. I loved the old-fashioned shape of the furniture piece but it needed to reflect more of a fun, less precious attitude.
I discovered this Australian based artist on etsy.com who creates the best design fabric decals for walls and furniture. I used her series of reusable doll clothes and displayed the garments on a make-believe clothing line. Miniature clothespins, found at my local craft store, were attached to the dresser with my favorite 3M repositionable strips.
Since kids grow up so fast and their tastes change like the wind, I wanted to make sure and keep the décor flexible and changeable.
Here is a sneak peek at some of the early décor prep I am doing on my little niece’s bedroom. I wanted to give the walls the look of faded wallpaper but was working on a slim budget.
I fell in love with this Moorish trellis stencil and decided it would look perfect in a gray taupe color. To make the bedroom feel cozy and serene, the gray taupe provides a subtle contrast to the lavender base coat on the walls.
I am not going to lie. Just stenciling two large walls took me three days. It helps to order two stencils so there is always a clean one waiting in the wings. Once I got the rhythm of the stenciling down, the second wall went much quicker. But looking at the finished walls in the room made it all worth it.
If you are thinking of stenciling a wall in your home, make sure your base coat is a matte finish like an eggshell or satin paint. I was working on a semi-gloss basecoat and the stenciling didn’t adhere as well—a bit too slippery of a surface to paint on.
Stay tuned for more petite posh design ideas coming soon!